Less golf, more party, exponential preferences
The Switch is no stranger to multiplayer games, and now developer Giant Margarita has brought us Party Golf, a game that feels destined for the Switch's detachable Joy-Cons The aptly named game is a 2D golf party game, playable up to 8 players and features chaotic simultaneous gameplay. What really makes it stand out are the customizable capabilities included to change up how you play this deceitfully simple title. With quite possibly the most options ever seen in a game, Party Golf encourages experimenting and adapting the gameplay to your wants and needs, so whether or not you and your friends want to be wacky is your preference. Though not without its faults, Party Golf is a fun and easy-to-learn multiplayer game that will guarantee to put a smile on you and your friends' faces.
The controls of the basic game are almost too simple, only the analog stick and the A button. The analog controls are very important here as the power of your swing depends on how far you push the stick in any given direction. Each round starts with every player taking aim and shooting their golf ball through the course, trying to get to the hole first. There aren't any turns here, so the game quickly turns to chaos with colorful lines of golf balls filling the screen.
The true essence of the game is defined by its variability. Every level is randomly generated, creating simplistic and sometimes hilariously hard to traverse areas. A big part of the game is ricocheting off of not only the environment but the other players as well. Many times the level would generate super narrow passages that caused a crazy chaos of the players smacking against each other, not getting anywhere near the goal but just trying to get as close to it as possible.
Before customizing the game to suit your taste, there are plenty of precrafted modes to dive into and enjoy. Playing through these worked well for showcasing all of the rules and concepts you can play around with. I feel can not overstate this enough: There are tons of different options in this game, so many that it would be silly to tell you about them all. These optional rules and modifications range from making all of your controls backwards, putting mines all over the courses, playing in high or low gravity, adding collectable coins for extra points, adjusting how powerful your shots are, adjusting ball shapes, and even adding power ups, just to name a few. One of our favorite modes was called "Rat-King", where when you collide with someone else's ball you actually stick to them and have to work together to get to the hole.
Party Golf is definitely a multiplayer-focused experience, but fortunately there is also a great amount of single player content included. Not only can you play with AI on any Custom Game or pre-determined Game Mode, there is also a "Trials" mode, which has tons of drastically different challenges spread out over 12 different categories. The Trials provide tough goals and limit the amount of shots you can take each match. All of these have local high score leaderboards, so you can always try to best other players (or your own) scores.
The variability of all these options really does ensure that you can have a lot of fun playing with friends. Gameplay stays feeling fresh by changing the rules and trying new things constantly. My friends and I all experienced the joy of finding certain combinations of rule sets that almost contradict each other, but would also work in a very wacky way. It got to the point where it almost felt like the game was broken, but in a good way. For instance, there's an option called "Fruit Salad" where every round each player is given a randomly shaped ball. Sometimes someone's ball is so big that if they get to the hole first they can block other people from getting in, triggering the reaction of "Hey, that's not fair", followed by the response of "Too bad" from everyone else.
As you can imagine, the experience will differ depending on who you are playing with, especially when playing in a party setup with a party mindset. At times I didn't even care if I won, I just wanted to take other people down with me in a blaze of glory. And honestly, isn't that what playing video games with your friends and family really all about?
Unfortunately over the many hours of playing Party Golf it did get a little buggy. Even while navigating the menus it couldn't seem to hold a consistent frame rate, and when playing with many options turned on the game chugged a bit. Luckily these small hiccups never really affected the gameplay too much, only hurting the presentation a little. As for the looks and sounds of the game, both the art direction and music are very simple and consistent throughout.
Even though there are a ridiculous amount of rules to customize, at the heart of it all is a simple pick-up-and-play golf game. Whether taking the experience on the go or playing on the TV, the Switch's Joy-Cons are ideal for a quick session (hold down + on the Main menu to toggle the option to use a single Joy-Con). If all you want is a quick multiplayer no-nonsense game, that exists here too with the "Quick Game’. For a crazy absolutely nonsensical game to explore with a bunch of friends, you've come to the right place.